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Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

DARPA gains explosives trace detection technology

© DHS S&T

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has gained explosives trace detection technology via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).

The Next-Generation Mass Spectrometry Explosive Trace Detector or Next-Gen Mass Spec ETD was developed in the wake of emerging explosive threats and evolving tactics by terrorists to evade detection.

“The original intent of developing this Next-Gen Mass Spec ETD technology was to give Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) an alarm resolution tool that identifies, confirms, and defeats current and emerging explosive threats,” S&T Program Manager Michael Palamar said. “We were surprised and pleased to find out that this same technology is equally adaptable for enhancing warfighters’ capabilities to detect biological and WMD threats.”

Thoi Nguyen is a contract scientist who supported S&T’s development and analysis of the Next-Gen Mass Spec ETD for the last five years.

“S&T tested and evaluated several other mass spec technologies for explosives detection,” Nguyen said. “This technology came out on top both in high-probability of detection and low probability of false alarm.”

S&T’s Laura Parker said it is a credit to the progress and impact of the next-generation ETD technology that S&T was able to collaborate with DARPA and share the technology.

“As government program managers, we are committed to using taxpayers’ money more efficiently, and this technology transition is a win-win,” she said.